President Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday (August 29) congratulated Neelakanta Bhanu Prakash from Hyderabad for winning a gold medal for India by becoming the world’s fastest human calculator.
“I wish you all success in your future endeavour and hope you will bring in more laurels for the country,” the president wrote in a letter to Prakash.
Neelakanta Bhanu Prakash, who is 20 years old, bagged the first-ever gold medal for India in the Mental Calculation World Championship at the Mind Sports Olympiad (MSO), 2020 held in London recently.
Prakash defeated 29 competitors, up to 57 years of age, from 13 countries.
The event, which is conducted every year in London, saw virtual participation from 30 participants across 13 countries.
Prakash, who studies Mathematics (Hons) at Delhi University’s St Stephen College, has four world records and 50 Limca records under his name.
“Breaking these records, once held by Math maestros like Scott Flansburg and Shakuntala Devi, is a matter of national pride. I have done my bit to place India on the global level of mathematics,” news agency ANI quoted Prakash as saying.
Prakash was five years old when his passion for maths grew as the result of an accident. Doctors had reportedly said he would be cognitively impaired if he did not continue to work on his skills. “So my mom brought me puzzles and that’s how I knew my inclination was there. I realised that calculations are something that I loved doing,” he told Hindustan Times.
While growing up, Prakash would practice for around 4-6 hours a day. He later began paying attention to other skills. “If I was just a mathematics calculator and didn’t know how business worked or how policy worked, I wouldn’t be able to contribute anything at all,” Hindustan Times quoted as saying.
Prakash said he wished to spread the love of maths to lots of other kids, and that his ‘VISION MATH’ labs was an initiative towards realising that dream.
“Three out of every four students who study in the government schools of India have trouble understanding basic mathematics,” Prakash explained.
“Under the government’s listed goals, there are a lot of programs which emphasize on increasing the literacy, but as of now, there is no significant program or vision in increasing the mathematical abilities and numeracy which can put us ahead in the global race,” ANI quoted him as saying.
He also appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take the dream of ‘VISION MATH’ forward. “Our visionary Prime Minister Narendra Modi should take the lead as I want to initiate and take ‘VISION MATH’ of India ahead. A robust plan like this will put India on the global map of excellence and bring back the old Indian Math Glory,” he said, according to Hindustan Times.